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Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
#1309853 11/21/09 03:42 PM
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Alden Offline OP
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Shhhh, don't tell Yamaha! (actually its ok, I'm authorized for Yamaha service)

Obviously I did this as part of the article I'm writing for the next edition of PB, and its not like I haven't been inside plenty of instruments, but one detail in particular just blew me away and I had to share.

- unedited by the punctuation police whistle

One internal detail that I found fascinating was the construction of what is referred to as the shank stopper. The hammer heads do not actually strike anything. Instead, the hammer's upward travel is stopped when the hammer shank contacts the shank stopper at a point just below the hammer head. The first thing I noticed about it was that the width of cushioning material that the shank contacts is tapered from the bass to the treble; being roughly twice as wide at the bass end. The cushioning material is comprised of two layers of material with the top layer—the one actually struck by the shank—softer while the lower layer is more dense. The core of the shank stopper is wood but it is stiffened with metal side panels, then covered on top with heavier metal plates to add mass. Clearly this was not done in the interest of cost, but to maintain the proper feel of the action even though this piece has only the briefest influence on the hammers rebound feel. Resilience, stiffness, mass; I wonder how many variations were tried before arriving at this combination?

- end

And yes, there's a real grand action in there.

[Linked Image]

Back to work...


Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden #1309888 11/21/09 05:04 PM
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Jes Alden, pull away the curtain and expose the wizard!


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Marty Flinn #1310008 11/21/09 08:47 PM
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Very interesting!

Thank you for posting this photo Alden!

It would be terrific to see a video of the action in motion...

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Kawai James #1310285 11/22/09 10:58 AM
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Because of your position, you
apparently can't own an acoustic
piano--like a person who works
for BMW couldn't pull up to
work every day in Porsche,
even if he likes them better
than BMW's. But do you actually like
acoustic pianos more than
digitals and wish you could
own a big grand?

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Gyro #1310338 11/22/09 12:26 PM
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I have nothing else to compare it too, but reminds me a lot of the inside of my CP70. Post more pics!


Elizabeth
@->-->--

Kimball 4520, Yamaha CP70-B, Yamaha PSR-150
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Gyro #1310361 11/22/09 01:13 PM
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I guess I'll get flamed for this, but nevertheless -

About a year ago I started piano lessons after a 55 year pause. Had a Steinway "M" in fair shape. It was located close to the bedroom. Since my wife is a late sleeper, and I usually start practicing around 5 or so, I needed a DP.

I purchased a Yamaha Clavinova. At first I was quite pleased with it. However, I always preferred the acoustic. As my playing skills improved, the DP became less satisfactory. But since I need the external silence of the DP with headphones, I continue to spend most of my practice time on the DP.

Where am I going with this? It seems that the AvantGrand would offer me the best of both worlds - a real acoustic feel combined with the silence of a DP.

I'm trying one out next week.

I did upgrade to a rebuilt "A".

Last edited by Bart Kinlein; 11/22/09 01:15 PM.

Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Bart Kinlein #1310390 11/22/09 02:12 PM
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I don't see a photo. And I don't see a link.

Am I missing something?

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Gyro #1310446 11/22/09 03:25 PM
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Hi Gyro,

Actually I've owned many acoustic pianos and there's nothing stopping me from owning one now. There are a lot of great things about DPs but probably my favorite aspect is the variety they provide. Between my DP and software pianos, I have several different top tier pianos--current and historical--at my disposal without coughing up in the neighborhood of $500,000 or more to do it for real.

Besides, I don't think Larry cares what I drive... grin


Alden Skinner
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Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden #1310551 11/22/09 07:14 PM
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Hi Alden,

thanks for sharing with us the technical details on the AvantGrand N2, it gives an impressive view.
I am curious to read your future reviews of this new Hybrid piano, I might bite the bullet and buy it.
As for the sound of the N2, to your ear how does it compare with the Vienna Imperial: Bösendorfer Grand sound library? I know from your other posts you have been testing it recently (presumably with blue sky media desk 2.1).

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
ArtVision #1310573 11/22/09 07:52 PM
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Aha, a stalker...

Hi ArtV,

Ok, I was afraid someone was going to ask me that one. Last things first; I'm currently listening to the MediaDesk 2.1s. They are not getting these things back...

To compare the N2 to VI I have to go to headphones (Sennheiser HD600s) to eliminate audio systems from the equation. This was a really tough one (I was telling Larry earlier today that doing two top-of-the-line products in one edition is really difficult, I may need counseling...). If somebody told me that either one of them would be my last piano I would be fine. They're really different beasts though. I can walk up to the N2, sit down and play and have it feel very natural and immediate--no adjustment necessary. Plus the fact that my wife (also a musician) doesn't mind that its in the living room.

The Vienna Imperial requires that I am in the studio with the Mac fired up and, between launching the program and loading a sample set, takes about a minute and a half to load. Not exactly spontaneous but it is so smooth. No discernible transitions.

I guess the bottom line is that like their host instruments, they're just different pianos. One sounds like a Yamaha, the other sounds like a Bosey. I'm looking forward to adding the Blüthner sample set.

Variety is the spice; collect them all!



Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden #1311020 11/23/09 05:06 PM
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Thanks a lot Alden,
your immediate answer is very much appreciated,
you must really have a hard time to compare these beasts,
I guess the N2 will appeal for pianists who do not want to mess with sound libraries.

In terms of servicing the mechanics of the N2 you have shown us on the photo,
do you think it will need frequent attention?


Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
ArtVision #1311094 11/23/09 07:18 PM
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ArtV
I don't anticipate any service problems. The action will need to be regulated once in a great while, but one of the factors that effects regulation is reshaping the hemmers due to playing wear(changes the hammer line, strike distance, etc.) This won't be a factor; no felt.

Beside that, the thing's built like a tank.


Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden #1311377 11/24/09 07:56 AM
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Hi there all. I've posted something similar in one of the other threads (forgive me), but what's it like living with this piano on a daily basis?
I'm considering getting the N3 to replace my Schimmel concert series silent upright. My downstairs neighbor complains so much that I end up using the acoustic capability hardly, if ever. And I'm not too fond of using headphones.
I tried the N2 for about ten minutes, and while the action felt great to me (better than the Schimmel upright) and the sound was fantastic at full blast, I found it a bit unsatisfying when I turned the sound down by about half, which I expect is something I would be doing a lot. Maybe the N3 wouldn't be as disappointing in this regard, but I haven't tried one yet.
The piano dealer says that it would be a huge step down replacing the Schimmel. He suggested I hook up some studio monitors to the midi module for lower decibel practice, rather than using headphones, as I do now.
So for now, it would be a trade-in plus a couple of thousand to get an N3 with its grand piano action, or an outlay of a couple of thousand to hook up decent quality monitors to my Schimmel.
Any and all observations would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
andrew f #1311388 11/24/09 08:34 AM
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why are you not so fond of using headphones, by the way? If it's comfort, be sure you try a wide variety. If it's the sound coming from the cans instead of the instrument, you can try hooking up a headphone amp along with headphones as well as using the built-in sound.

That could give you satisfactory sound levels from a natural source without giving your neighbour fits! I did try something like this a while ago (subwoofer + headphones) and it really works (for me).


aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.
[Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Bunneh #1311392 11/24/09 08:46 AM
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It's not really that the headphones are uncomfortable. The source isn't natural - when you use the silent feature you hear a digital sample, not the actual piano you're sitting in front of.

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
andrew f #1311472 11/24/09 12:27 PM
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Andrew f, those acoustic uprights
with a silent system simply
don't make sense, as I see it.
If you're using one, then noise
is a major concern, and you're
not going to be able to use
the acoustic piano. So you're
paying around $9000 for what
is essentially a digital piano.
(You can get perfectly good
digital pianos for less than
$1000.)

Now you're considering buying
something that also doesn't
make sense, in my view. This
Avant Grand is another device
that is essentially a digital
piano, and for the huge sum
of around $20,000. This just
boggles my mind for its
complete unreasonableness.

It is natural for a classically
trained musician to want the
"real thing" in a piano, but
this is ridiculous. We are
living in the Digital Piano
Era, and digital pianos
--regular ones, not these
chimera-like hybrids
of an acoustic and digital
piano--provide an acceptable
substitute for acoustic pianos.
I play a $600 Williams Overture
digital, and I find it okay
for playing anything, from
jazz and neo-classical improvisation,
to big-time classical works
like the Chopin op. 14 Concert
Rondo. And this is an economy
digital, one of the least expensive
ones around.

This idea of a silent
substitute for an acoustic
piano is not a new one. By
the late 19th century there
were silent keyboards available--
these are like a digital piano with
the power turned off. They
were invented so that concert
pianists could play anytime
and anywhere and not disturb
people, and they enabled
a player to save his ears and
nerves at the same time. They
used to be very popular with concert
pianists in the 1930's, and
Arrau used one all his life.

Silent keyboards and their
modern cousins, digital pianos
(regular ones, not acoustic/digital
hybrids), are the best thing
for developing technique,
because you can play anything
anytime and anywhere and get
in more quality practice time.
It has been pointed out on
this forum that top concert
pianists like Andre Watts
and Valentina Lisitsa use
regular digital pianos. So
there is no reason for any
pianist to shun regular digitals.


Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Gyro #1311520 11/24/09 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyro
It has been pointed out on this forum that top concert pianists like Andre Watts and Valentina Lisitsa use regular digital pianos.
That may have been pointed out on this forum. But how do you know it's true? It's hard to imagine Valentina shunning her rebuilt Bosie for a digital!

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
MacMacMac #1311681 11/24/09 06:54 PM
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I can both validate and qualify the Andre Watts reference. Back in my dealer days I received a request to supply Mr. Watts hotel room with a DP for "warming up."


Alden Skinner
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Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden #1311686 11/24/09 07:10 PM
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Gyro, just because a famous pianist uses a DP, it doesn't follow that they like it, or even enjoy it: it could be just a necessity, given the circumstances. When I take my Ferrari in for a service (in my dreams) and they give me their loaner sub-compact, my driving said replacement doesn't mean that it can replace my Ferrari in any but the most utilitarian way. Add to this mundane analogy the fact that music involves creativity and sensitivity and aesthetics, and you see that the idea of a DP being able to replace the real piano is true in only a limited sense for most of us. In any case, this is a deeply personal issue, and I wouldn't care to quibble with anyone about their personal preferences.

Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
10fingers #1311930 11/25/09 03:18 AM
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My dealer says he's sold four already - they get snapped up as soon as they hit the showroom. The buyers have not been professional pianists.
So, gentlemen and ladies, is there anybody here who has gone and bought one of these and lived with it for a while and who would care to share?

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